Yes, the warmer weather is here and many of us have dusted off our bikes to get reacquainted with our favorite biking trails. You may have had to give your bike a once over to make sure it's in the best condition it can be. After all, you need to rely on it in order to get you out there on those trails and more importantly, bring you back safely, and without any mishaps.
In order to make sure your bikes up to the challenge, we put together a few simple checks you can make in order to be sure your bikes ready to peddle you onward.
1. Clean It! OK, that sounds like the obvious, but we mean properly clean it! Rinse it thoroughly, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies, apply a reputable bike cleaner of your choice and leave to stand for a few minutes, then rinse clean.
Stick your bike in a stand and dry it with an industrial-spec paper cloth. Yes, it may be more cost effective to use that grease and mud-encrusted promotional t-shirt you have lying in the corner, but the point of this exercise is cleaning. Drying, as well as cleaning not only makes sure that all the muck is removed but also leaves the bike cleaner so that there’s no residue or paint damage. An old toothbrush is great for de-mudding cassettes and removing the wheels will help you to get right into the rear linkage.
2. Lubricate It: Think about the parts of your bike which rely on a good smothering of grease to move smoothly. Headsets, axles, bottom brackets and dropper/seatposts are all great places for mud, moisture and hasty post-ride, pre-pub washes to strip off the grease. A good quality bike-specific grease will hang around for as long as possible and a torque wrench will help to eliminate any creaks.
3. New bits (tires, grips, chain, lube)
You’ve got the whole summer of ripping turns ahead of you, so why not freshen up your ride? A new chain, cassette, and inner gear cables can make an unbelievable difference and will really go a long way towards replicating that ‘new bike’ feeling. New grips offer a nice new perch for your hands and new tires will open up levels of gripping the road, which has gradually disappeared from memory as your tread depth has worn away.
Why not try switching up your seat set-up slightly too? Moving your position around, even slightly, can dramatically alter how your bike feels out on the trails and won’t cost you a penny.
4. Seal lube:
Your suspension stanchions have been oscillating back and forth through their seals all winter long. Each cycle stripping grit and re-lubing in oil in equal measures. Every-Single-Cycle. Worth showing them some love then? Probably, yeah!
Take some fork oil on a cloth and apply it liberally to the base of the stanchion where it first contacts the seal. Cycle the fork or shock through its travel a couple of times, clean off any excess then repeat. If you’re lucky enough to have air-sprung suspension, then take a second to check your pressures.
Now that the basic checklist is complete, you may want to consider adding another component to your bikes arsenal. Lights. Yes, its summer and the daylight hours stretch out now for a couple hours and its light enough to see after 9 pm on most summer evenings. But with the passing of the 4th of July, the daylight hours are beginning to decline. And there may come times when you’re out at night and the shadows begin to encroach upon your biking trail. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a good reliable cycling lamp mounted to your ride so that you can not only see where you're going and what’s coming up around the corner, but any on-coming traffic can also be seen, by YOU!
The Garmin Varia Smart Cycling Light is one such lamp! The Varia smart bike lights help to create a safer riding environment by adjusting to changing light conditions as well as bike speed when paired with select Garmin Edge computers. As speed increases, the headlight automatically projects light further ahead, to where it’s needed most. As the ambient light fades or gets brighter, both the headlight and tail light adjust automatically when paired with a light-sensing Edge 1000 bike computer. Beam cutoff prevents headlight from blinding oncoming drivers.
So, there you have it. With your bike having passed its checklist with flying colors and you're incorporating a safety zone of illumination by mounting the Garmin Varia Cycling light to your bike, your now ready to see where you're going and more importantly be seen by oncoming traffic.
It just gives you a sense of “ piece of mind” that you're doing all you can do in order to have some fun as you cycle, safely on down the road.